Tuesday, 24 July 2012
Letter 76: Anonymous commanding officer writes to Phil Hammond about G4S and Armed Forces strategy.
Three days to go and it was good to hear Jeremy Hunt says that the standard of the G4S security operation has improved markedly over the last week - though not so much that he feels he can leave them without the support of a further 1200 of our Armed Forces. He's right when he says it's important not to take any chances with security, but I wonder how it makes those soldiers and parents feel holding protests today against your cuts to the Army. They were staging small, dignified protests in Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Manchester, Newcastle, Cardiff and Southampton, I heard. I couldn't begin to imagine how they feel, but I bet the officer who wrote this anonymously to Phillip Hammond (read out on The World This Weekend 14.07.12) probably does:
"Dear Secretary of State,
As a commanding officer, one week ago I had to explain to my people the cuts introduced by the Army 2020 and a future with 30,000 reservists that everyone knows will not work. In my tenure as commander, I have also had to explain redundancy tranches and an accelerated drawdown from Afghanistan that everyone thinks is a recipe for disaster.
This week my people will learn that they must give up leave to cover the Olympics. They all know they won't get it back regardless of what you may tell the press. They will be living on camp beds without proper washing facilities, because wholly predictably G4S didn't get it's act together. So my question is this: will we ever see real strategy for the Armed Forces, rather than continuous cost cutting dressed up for the press as strategy? Our people deserve more than hollow platitudes."
What do you think?
With best wishes, etc'